Hair loss has become more and more common nowadays affecting people of all ages and not just the elderly. Hair growth and loss are affected by various factors such as hormonal change, nutrition and general health (physical and mental) of a person. Hair loss is classified according to the pattern and the causes of it. Here are some of the common type of hair loss:
Alopecia means bald and areata means patch. Alopecia areata hence means patchy baldness. The type of bald pattern seen on the person is usually characteristic in a way that there will be scattered bald with scalp seen in a circular shape around the head, beard or even on the eyebrows. The condition can be due to stress. It is usually resolved on its own and the person is advised not to scratch the head.
2. Alopecia totalis
Alopecia totalis is a subtype of alopecia areata where the head is totally bald with just the scalp left. Alopecia totalis is believed to be caused by factors like stress and hypothyroidism. It also has a strong genetic or hereditary relationship where as much as 20% of people having this condition have a positive family history. The genetic factor may have resulted in autoimmunity in which the body immune system attacking the person’s hair follicles causing baldness.
3. Ovarian problems
In women, most common triggering factors of hair loss are Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), Premature Ovarian Failure (POF) and Testosterone-secreting Ovarian Tumour (TOT). PCOS and TOT both have similar presentation of hair loss which is bitemporal (sides of the head) hair loss and occipital (back of the head) hair loss.
Both of them also have high testosterone level. PCOS is however slow in onset and commonly occur during puberty to early adulthood while TOT onset in much quicker. POF, on the other hand, has a more diffuse hair loss including under the armpit and at bikini area.
The iron is important for red blood cell production as well as for hair growth. The pattern of this type of hair loss usually affects the head more than any other areas of the body.
5. Extreme physical stress
Extreme physical stress includes severe illness like cancer and the treatment for which it uses such as the cytotoxic (cell induce death) drugs. Similar to iron deficiency hair loss, the pattern of baldness here also only affects the head. Hair usually grows back once the illness is cured or the drugs stopped.
What are the treatment and prevention of hair loss?
There are many ways to treat and prevent hair loss which can be categorised into three ways namely conservative, medical and aesthetic treatment. Permanent hair loss treatment has come so far in this 21st century which makes hair growth easily available to most people.
Conservative treatment comprises of advice given such as taking iron supplements and stress management together with a healthy lifestyle and good dieting. Meanwhile, medical treatment only has two options which are the use of minoxidil and finasteride drugs that aim to tackle androgen-related (high testosterone) hair loss.
If conservative and medical treatments are not suitable or effective, aesthetic management which includes PRP injection or hair implants may be a good and permanent solution for this problem.
In a nutshell, hair loss has a multitude of factors and treatment options. It is therefore good for the person to seek expert advice before taking or opt for hair loss treatment as the causes have to be identified first.